You have just had a baby! Congratulations! Life as a new parent is not always easy, but you will get to know your new baby and you both will all adjust to this new wonderful life together as a family.
For new mothers who have just given birth, your pregnant body will change once again to the postpartum body. Please be aware that it may take up to 4-6 weeks for your body to heal, or even longer if you had a cesarean section. Some changes are physical, such as your breasts filling up with milk if you are breastfeeding, and other changes are emotional. For those who have just adopted a baby, there are still many changes to be faced ahead.
Simple Rules to Follow
Along with a lack of sleep, making sure baby is fed, clean, feeling secure and sleeping well, it is very hard for new parents to make sure they are well fed and rested themselves. Here are some tips to help you get through the tough first six weeks:
This can be actually one of the hardest things to do. If someone offers help, say YES. It is just naturally difficult for anyone to say yes to help, but this is not the time to burn you out. If some asks how they can help, say they can bring you lunch or dinners, hold the baby while you shower or take a nap, help clean the house or wash the dishes or offer to take older siblings to the park or on play dates.
Let Go of Certain Things
Yes, we all love a clean home and even during the times when we have guests over to see the new baby, we want to have a sparkling clean and shiny home. However, you will probably often have to choose between taking a nap and cleaning the house, and naps should be a priority. The dishes can stay in the sink, the laundry can wait to be folded, and the toys can be left out a little longer than usual. Dusting, mopping, scrubbing the bathroom, vacuuming- although nice to get done, it is okay to get to these tasks later. These things can wait, and you can let go of the idea that your house HAS to always be clean.
Find a guilty pleasure that you can do for just yourself for at least 15 minutes every day. It could be a short walk alone while someone watches your baby, watching an episode of your favorite Netflix series, or getting a pedicure. It may even be doing nothing but spending time alone for a little bit. This is so important for your psychological and mental wellbeing.
You always hear the advice “sleep when baby sleeps!” For some, this is unrealistic and difficult to do, especially when you have other kids at home. But, if your partner is home from work, go rest. If your kids are on a playdate, go rest. If your kids want to watch a movie in the middle of the day, close your eyes and rest. Take advantage of any down time there is in the day to rest.
Eat Regularly Balanced Meals
By eating regularly and balanced:
• Eat three to four meals a day, try not to snack throughout the day.
You may need to add a fifth meal in some circumstances, but generally speaking, three to four meals a day is acceptable. Work around your schedule, and be mindful of whether or not you are truly hungry or perhaps you might need be thirsty too. Having a light snack before bed (such as fruit or yogurt) can help you go to sleep faster without going hungry.
• By eating a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates at every meal and snack.
For example, a snack could be almond nut butter on whole wheat crackers with some apple slices. This is a great snack; it has protein and fat from the nut butter and carbohydrates from the crackers and fiber from the apple.
More Easy Snack Ideas:
Edamame – High in protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron, edamame are a quick and easy finger food that can easily be picked up and eaten with one hand.
Carrots with hummus- A handful of baby carrots dipped in hummus can satisfy the need for some veggies while providing some needed protein.
Celery sticks with cream cheese – Place some cream cheese on a stalk of celery and you have a quick, nutritious treat that can be carried around the room while tending to baby.
English muffin with peanut butter and honey: Pair a whole wheat English muffin with some peanut butter and honey for a mid-morning pick-me-up.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse: Put together this recipe ahead of time for a delicious dessert with just the right kind of fats and fill that chocolate craving.
Frozen Grapes: The antioxidants found in grapes will taste just a little bit sweeter and more refreshing when the grapes have been frozen overnight. The cold treat can easily be popped in the mouth in between diaper changes.
String cheese with handful of almonds : Filled with calcium and protein, this requires no preparation!
Know It Will Get Easier
This is a promise. It will get easier as time goes by. Be kind to yourself and understand that it takes time and this is the time to get to know your new baby.
If you feel alone or need someone who is going through the exact same thing you are, ParentCirkle is here to offer the tools and resources families need to succeed. One of the courses we offer is on Self Care , taught by Parent & Health Coach Sheila Petersen. Group classes and one-on-one coaching is on regularly, so check our schedule to find the next one for you.
An original Circle 4 Parents blog.